There is how things are, and there is how we feel about how things are. And that is how things are. And that is where we have to get to work-- being conscious of how easily two things become one thing in their impact on us, and intentionally preventing that from happening. How we feel about how things are is different from how things are. It is up to us to separate them, and deal with two things, not one thing. Emergency room personnel have to keep their feelings from interfering with their response to what comes through the door. What's happening and what needs to be done about what's happening has to be realized and done on a level different from how we feel about what's happening and what needs to be done about it. The same thing applies to the dog throwing up on the carpet, or the baby's diaper needing to be changed, or all of the 10,000 things happening at once. Our response to what is happening has to be to what is happening, and not to how we feel about what is happening. We process the impact of what happens at a time and place different from the time and place in which what is happening happens. At the time of the happening, we realize the horror, or the inconvenience, or the outlandish absurdity, etc., without being sidetracked by any of it-- in order to do what needs to be done about it here and now. We note it and tuck it away in our awareness to be revisited when that is appropriate, in order to give our full attention to the present moment and what is called for now. This is called "Walking two paths at the same time." It is a life skill we all need to master by the time we are, say, six years old.
Adjustment and accommodation, Negotiation and compromise, Acceptance and realization, Growth and recognition, Peace, balance and harmony-- Are all stages on the way, Hallmarks of The Way. Growing up is the only form of growth. We grow by growing up. We grow up against our will, in recognition of how things are. "This is the way things are, and this is what can be done about it, and that's that. That is how things are!" Letting things be because they are-- letting come what's coming and letting go what's going, and bearing consciously the pain of realization and acquiescence-- is the price of being alive. When Jesus said, "Pick up your cross everyday and come along with me," this is what he was talking about-- bearing consciously the pain of being alive. Conflict, contradiction, polarity, dichotomy, dissonance, duality, incongruity, antipathy, opposition, agony, anguish, and pathos constitute the lived experience of incompatible, mutually exclusive, wants, interests and needs. Life Eats Life! How's that for the fundamental refutation of all we consider to be good and right? Yet, that is the basic requirement for life in the world. Growing up is coming to terms with the terms required for life and being-- and consciously bearing the pain of being alive in acquiescence to the realization at the heart of life: "When you meet an elephant coming toward you on the path, Get off the path!!!" Do not insist on your principles in the face of necessity, or accept the fact that some principles require us to die on the cross we carry. And let it be so, because it is.